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Google promises enterprise Nexus Android phone

Android chief Andy Rubin has revealed plans for an enterprise handset in Google's Nexus range, possibly featuring a physical keyboard and long battery life
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Google will offer an enterprise-focused Nexus Android handset through its new web store, Android chief Andy Rubin has said.

In an on-stage interview at CES with The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg, Rubin told delegates that the web store — which currently carries only the Nexus One smartphone — would be used to sell a series of Nexus handsets according to segment, including an "enterprise version" and a "mass-market version".

Rubin referred to "the next version of the Nexus series which is an enterprise device", and suggested the 'enterprise' nature of the device could derive from several features.

"The definition of 'enterprise' is moving around a bit these days," Rubin said, adding that he saw a "big opportunity in cloud computing and cloud services", although other features could include a physical keyboard, better battery life and the ability to operate on all operator networks around the world.

Rubin noted that an enterprise Nexus phone would be a different model from the Nexus One, not just an enterprise version of the same handset.

Analysts have said that Android is not yet ready for the enterprise market, partly because it is still an immature platform with rapidly evolving versions, and partly because it does not yet offer enterprise-grade security.

The mobile email firm Good Technology released a secure client for Android in December 2009, but Google's platform does not have a centralised application signing process, instead relying on developers to sign their own apps.

Android handsets also cannot be wiped remotely — a feature Apple has used to promote the iPhone's suitability for enterprise.

In his interview with Mossberg, Rubin responded to complaints by early adopters of the Nexus One that there is no obvious customer support for the handset — the first consumer product to be sold directly by Google.

"We have to get better at customer service," Rubin conceded.

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